Almost Persuaded

Bible Book: Acts  26 : 24-29
Subject: Salvation; Procrastination; Opportunity Lost

D.L. Moody, by his own admission, made a mistake on October8, 1871; it was a mistake he determined never to repeat. He had been preaching in the city of Chicago. That particular night drew his largest audience yet. His message was 'What will you do then with Jesus who is called the Christ?' By the end of the service he was tired, so he concluded his message, and once again presented the true Gospel with a concluding statement; 'NOW I GIVE YOU A WEEK TO THINK THAT OVER … AND WHEN WE COME TOGETHER AGAIN, YOU WILL HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY TO RESPOND.' A soloist began to sing. But before the final note, the music was drowned out by clanging bells and wailing sirens screaming through the streets. The Great Chicago fire was blazing. In the ashen aftermath, hundreds were dead and over a hundred thousand were homeless. Without a doubt, some who heard Moody's message had died in the fire. He reflected remorsefully that he would have given his right arm before he would ever give an audience another week to think over the message of the Gospel.

When I read that story, I thought about the Scripture that is in front of us. There are some here in this Worship Service that are at the very door of Salvation. You are right at the point of making a decision for the Lord Jesus Christ. Many, if not all of you, have it in your mind that you will have other opportunities and there-fore you will say; 'Preacher, what you have said in this Service is absolutely true … I agree with you 100% … And Preacher, 'You almost persuaded me to be a Christian' … Don't get upset in this worship Service if we sing one more verse of a song. The reason for it, being, there are some of you that may be making a decision that will decide your future destination. You may be deciding whether or not you are going to spend eternity in Heaven or in hell.

The story that we have just read is one of encouragement and one of concern. We are encouraged to find that God gives us an opportunity to make a choice about our future. We are encouraged to notice, that, even though you must admit that none of us deserve an opportunity to accept Christ as our Lord and Savior, that invitation is still given. We are also encouraged to note that the Gospel is for everyone, and everyone needs to hear the real truth about Jesus Christ. And so this story tells us that the Gospel was presented to a king. He had a high earthly position, but he had no Heavenly position - because if a man or woman is ever going to see Heaven, the Bible makes it very clear that "Ye must be born again", and this includes the rich as well as the poor. This includes the 'high position' people and the 'low position' people. This includes the rich, and this includes the poor. If a person is going to see the kingdom of Heaven - they must be born again.

When you study this passage of Scripture, you come in contact with 3 characters … (They each represent people in this worship service):

(1) Festus - he represents those who are alienated from Jesus Christ. As you read this story, you find that he thought that Paul was a mad man. He mistook earnestness for insanity.

(2) Paul - he represents those who are altogether for Jesus Christ. You have to admit that as you study the life of Paul, when he met Jesus Christ, you never question from that moment on that he was 100% for Jesus Christ. He was all out for the Lord Jesus. He was totally committed to the Lord. Paul lived by one motto; "For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain".

(3) Agrippa - he represents those who are almost to the Lord Jesus Christ. Agrippa was so close to being saved - yet he was so very far. He was almost a Christian - and yet he was not altogether one.

As you study the Word of God, this is not the first time you find the 'tragedy of the almost'. You remember the Nation of Israel. God's purpose and plan for them was that they go into the Promised Land. One day they came to a little village known as Kadesh-Barnea. They were right on the very border of the Promised Land. Just a few more yards and they would be in the land, which God had promised them. Yet, they turned from Kadesh-Barnea and went back into the wilderness, and there they wondered for 40 years.

On another occasion, Jesus made a statement to a to a man; a man who was very interested in how to be saved. Jesus looked at him and said; 'Thou are not far from the kingdom of God". In other words, the man was almost there.

I believe one of the greatest tragedies in all of life for a person to be almost a child of God, yet they are still lost. It is a great tragedy for a person to be almost to Jesus Christ, yet turns and walks away from Him.

I believe it would be a tragedy for someone in this service, who has heard this wonderful music, who has been around loving people, who has seen the joy and love which only Jesus can give, who has heard the Word of God presented - to tremble under the convicting Power of the Holy Spirit, and yet turn, and walk away from this place and never be saved.

This tragedy could happen in this service in just a few moments. There are some here right now that are almost, and yet they are so far away.

I would like to call you attention to the story that is in front of us. We are going to see that Agrippa was "Almost Persuaded" - and yet he was so far away from Jesus …


As we study these verses, you will come to understand that Paul was very bold in what he said. Paul was doing his best to persuade Agrippa to become a Christian.

26:29 - "I would to God, that not only thou, but also all that hear me this day, were both almost, and altogether such as I am, except these bonds." How can a person be persuaded to become a Christian? What methods can be used to get a person's attention to persuade them to become a Child of God? Paul teaches us that there are at least 3 methods that can be used to persuade men to give their heart and life to the Lord.


26:26 - "For the king knoweth of these things, before whom also I speak freely"

What things was Paul talking about?

26:22 - "Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come:" Paul was using this Powerful tool called the Holy Scriptures to bring Agrippa to the point of Salvation.

We know that this is the Purpose of the Bible; it is to bring a person to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.2 Timothy 3:15 - "And that from a child thou hast known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto Salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus."

The intention of the Bible is to bring a person face to face with his sin; face to face with the loveliness of the Lord Jesus Christ, and their need of true Salvation. (Think about the tremendous impact the Bible has on people) …

The Bible Cuts like a sword

The Bible crushes like a hammer

The Bible consumes like a fire

One day Charles Spurgeon was having Metropolitan Tabernacle (the place where he preached) remodeled. He preached in a building that seated 5,000. While some men were repairing and remodeling the building, Spurgeon, with his magnificent voice, said; 'Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.'

Spurgeon didn't know it but there was a carpenter working up in one of the balconies of that building. Spurgeon couldn't see the man; the man was down between the pews and was working. But the man heard those words and he couldn't get away from them. Those powerful words rang in his hears the rest of the afternoon.

He went home that night and he couldn't get away from those words; 'Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world." …The carpenter went to bed that night and he still couldn't get away from those words. The words went from his ears and down into his heart. > And it was the testimony of that carpenter to Spurgeon later on that it was the hearing of that one verse of Scripture that brought him to conviction and Salvation …Paul was preaching to Agrippa the Scriptures and he was "almost persuaded" to be saved.


26:26 - "for I am persuaded that none of these

things are hidden from him"

It was no accident that Paul was standing before King Agrippa. Paul was pleading his heart, face to face with this king …

9:15 - "Go thy way, for he is a chosen vessel unto Me, to bear My name before the Gentiles, and Kings, and the children of Israel."

God has ordained that Agrippa should receive a personal witness from a Personal soul-winner name Paul.

When you think about it, Paul had a powerful con-version. His meeting the Lord was an absolute Miracle. I mean, here was a man who was a Jewish Rabbi, he was on his way to the city of Damascus to persecute those who named the name of Jesus. In a supernatural, miraculous kind of way - when he met the Lord Jesus Christ, his life was utterly, totally, changed - never again the same; and because of this, Paul became a red-hot soul-winner for the Lord Jesus Christ.

2 Cor.5:11 - "Knowing the terror of the Lord I persuade men"

Can you imagine how difficult it must have been to refuse the testimony of Paul? No one could deny the change that had taken place in his life.

I am glad that only Jesus can change the life of a person. (Jesus can take a drunkard that has been drinking from the fountains of this world - and put a new fountain of living water in his heart). (Jesus can take a person whose life has been high on drugs - and put on a new high in life called Salvation). (Jesus can take a hypocrite that has been pretending to be a Christian - and put a new song in his heart and give him the real thing).

If you are a Child of God, then there is a difference your life - and others will be able to see it, and their lives can be touched by it.


26:26 - "for this thing was not done in a corner"

I believe Paul took Agrippa on an imaginary tour to Calvary's Cross. I believe Paul told Agrippa about the soldiers that whipped Him with the cat of nine tales. I believe he told him how the soldiers gambled for the garments of Jesus. Paul might have told him about the people whom around the Cross mocking Jesus. He could have told him about the thieves that were hanging there beside Him. Paul might have told Agrippa about the nails that went into His hands and feet. Paul could have told him what Jesus said on the Cross. Paul could have mentioned the fact that Jesus, when He died, was not dying for His own sins, but for the sins of the whole world.

Then Paul told him about the resurrection of Jesus. (26:23). Paul knew that no one could ever receive Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior without believing both the death and Resurrection of Jesus.

I believe Paul told Agrippa this story about Jesus in a way that he knew there was One who loved him so much that He died for him. Paul confronted this man with the real truth. Yet, Agrippa said; "Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian"


Why was Agrippa "almost persuaded", but not al-together? I can imagine how he was feeling about now. Here Agrippa was, he had heard about much Jesus loved him; how much Jesus cared for him. And yet, he was "almost" but not altogether.

I want you to keep something in mind here. Agrippa was not just sitting there unmoved. There was conviction going on inside of him. The reason I say this, is when Paul preached Jesus to him, he said; "Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian" … This is a true sign that something was going on inside his heart. He knew he had to make a decision one way or another.

Why did Agrippa get to the point that he didn't want to be saved?


Now seated on Agrippa's right was a young lady named Bernice. She is mentioned over in (Acts 25:23). Bernice was Agrippa's wife. (Some commentators suggest that they were not husband and wife; they believe they were living together) … Whatever the case, they were living in sin. The reason they were living in sin was that Bernice was actually Agrippa's full sister. Therefore, they were living in an incestuous relation-ship.

Agrippa stopped short of coming to know Jesus as his personal Lord and Savior simply because - he understood that if he came to Christ, he would have to turn from sin. It is my belief that Agrippa felt that the moment he gave his heart and life to Christ, he would have to break that illicit relationship with his sister (wife) Bernice. I do not believe that we should ever preach a 'cheap' Salvation. Jesus makes it very clear …

Luke 13:5 - "Except ye repent ye shall likewise Perish."

"Repent" - literally means 'to turn away from something' … 'to turn your back on something'

The only thing you are required to do in order to get saved is turn away from (sin), (self), and (Satan) and turn to the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. You must REPENT of your sins; you must turn away from your sins; you have got to get sick and tired of your sins; you've got to break that relationship with your sins …

In the story of the Prodigal son we find that the son didn't carry a bucket of slop under each arm to the father's house. HE TURNED HIS BACK ON THE "HOG PEN" and then he said; "I will arise and go to my father's house."

A person must give up sin in order to receive the Savior. Think of how foolish it is for a person to let sin, (any sin), keep them from coming to Jesus. Now, I am not talking about quitting something and turning over a 'new leaf'. There are people that quit doing certain things. They quit things and say that God has accepted them just like they are. Now don't get me wrong. I am not against anyone quitting anything that is harmful to their health. I am not against anyone quitting things in order to live a better life. But God's requirements are that a person not only quit something and turn over a 'new leaf' - God demands that a person REPENT of all their sins, and He will give them a "New life".

I am surprised how many people would rather drink their liquor than drink from the fountain that Jesus gives that never runs dry. I am surprised how many people would rather run with the crowd that is going to hell than be associated with the Christians who are truly born again and go to Heaven. I am afraid too many people sell themselves short of the best things in life. (They settle for the 'cheap things' in life).

Jesus said on one occasion; "If thy hand offend thee, cut it off" … Jesus was teaching us a lesson. He was saying that it would be better for you to lose a member of your body and go to Heaven than to go 'whole' into hell and be lost forever and forever.

Agrippa more than likely looked at Bernice and said to himself that he would rather live the way he was living than to give it up and be a Christian. The only things Jesus will ever ask a person to give up are the things that we don't need.


As you look at this story, there is a man here by the name of Festus. Agrippa heard what Festus had to say about Paul. He said; "Paul, thou art beside thyself; much learning doth make thee made." More than likely Agrippa must have said to himself; 'What would Festus say about me if I became a Christian?' …

All of us want to be liked by other people. None of us like to be made fun of. You wouldn't want anyone to laugh at you.

Harry Ironside was just a young boy. He was not a Christian. His mother use to talk to him about becoming a Christian. He would always tell his mother; "Mother, I would really like to, but I'm afraid that my friends will laugh at me if I do" … His mother would always say, "Remember, Harry, your friends may laugh you into hell - but they can never laugh you out of hell"

Listen, if I were lost and knew that I was going to hell, it wouldn't matter to be what others would say; especially my friends, because your true friends will be glad that you became a Christian. Agrippa 'almost' became a Christian, but he was still lost in his sins.

(Another reason he didn't get saved)


Paul may have been one of the reasons Agrippa would not become a Christian. Notice for a moment. Paul is standing before him in chains; he has scars on his body. Agrippa could see that it would cost him to become a Christian.

If you really look at Agrippa, it was himself that kept him from becoming a Christian. Agrippa had no one to blame but himself. Agrippa teaches us a great lesson. The only thing a lost person has to do in order to go to hell is absolutely nothing.

(1) Knowing that you need to become a Christian does not make you a Christian.

(2) Having a desire to become a Christian does not make you a Christian.

(3) You must arise, realize you're a sinner, repent of that sin, and receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.

Agrippa knew the truth and believed the truth (26:27- "I know that thou believest"). But then he said; "Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian."


This story does not have a good ending. Here is Agrippa standing at the threshold of the door of Salvation, yet he refuses.


When a baseball team goes to the World Series and almost wins the Championship, it means that team came in second. A marksman that almost hits the bull’s-eye misses it completely. A ship that almost makes it to the harbor perishes in the storm.

If you are almost a Christian and not altogether a Christian - that means you miss the joy of knowing that your sins are forgiven. You will not enjoy the experience of having the Presence of the Lord living in our life.


Agrippa brought great judgment upon himself. He would have been far better off never hearing the true Gospel that Paul preached, than to hear it and reject what he heard. Agrippa had the opportunity to receive Christ and he blew it.

By the way, not only did he hurt himself, he hurt others around him. If he had been saved, maybe Bernice would have been saved. Maybe Festus would have been saved. The course of the nation could have changed if Agrippa would have received Christ.

The rich man asked Abraham to send someone to tell his 5 brethren not to come to a place called hell. A man rarely goes to hell by himself. Friends lead friends to hell. Parents lead children to hell.

I want to explain something right here. I am not at all surprised at Agrippa's response he gave to Paul; "Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian" … Let me explain. King Agrippa was the last of the Herod kings. These were the kings who, although not exactly Jews, nevertheless belonged to the Jewish faith. They were Edomites and descendants of Esau, the twin brother of Jacob. The first of the line was Herod the Great; who killed all the babies in Bethlehem when our Lord was born, in attempt to wipe out the Messiah, whom he regarded as a rival to his throne. (His son) Herod Antipas, had John the Baptist beheaded in prison. (His grandson), Herod Agrippa I put the Apostle James to death with the sword. Now his (great-grandson) Agrippa II, has been appointed by the Romans to have authority to appoint the High Priest in Jerusalem, and to administer the Temple. Now keep in mind that he is an Edomite, he is a Herod, a descendant of Esau - and he is true to his heritage. Esau stands throughout the Scripture as a mark of an (independent spirit) which refuses help from God (which turns its back upon all the love of God poured out to reach us) - and in independent arrogance refuses the pro-offered hand of God's Grace. This is what this King does. And now Agrippa fades from history. Agrippa is the last of the line of the Herod kings. No wonder he almost received Christ, but he had been taught 'self-dependence', and he chose what he had been taught down through the years.



I read about a 62 year old man named William Hyatt. He was found in the Mojave Desert with his face and his hands buried in the sand seeking for moisture. His car had broken down, and he had walked twenty-two miles through the Mojave Desert until he died. He crawled on his hands and feet the last two miles and he died in the sand. Just over the hill, one-half mile away, was the Saratoga Spring that could have saved him. He was almost there and yet he missed it.